The Ghost Road (The regeneration trilogy) Paperback – 4 Jul 1996
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An extraordinary tour de force. I'm convinced that the trilogy will win recognition as one of the few real masterpieces of late 20th-century British fiction (Jonathan Coe) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
1918, and Billy Prior is in France once again, a real test case for the 'shell-shock' therapies practised at Craiglockhart War Hospital where, with Wilfred Owen, he was a patient. Prior experiences a late-summer idyll, some days of perfect beauty, before the final battles in a war that has destroyed most of his generation. In London, Prior's psychologist, William Rivers, tends to his new patients, more young men whose lives and minds have been shattered. And remembers the primitive society on Eddystone Island where he studied as an anthropologist before the war. Gathering together both experiences, he sees the gulf between them narrow… Challenging and harrowing, brilliantly incisive yet always compassionate, Pat Barker's Booker Prize winning novel is magnificent listening.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
All three books are set during World War I. 'Regeneration' focuses on the war poet Siegfried Sassoon as he recovers from shell-shock in a war hospital in Scotland and is treated by Dr Rivers (who is the main character throughout the trilogy); 'The Eye in the Door' is based more on life in the UK during the war, looking at the issues facing homosexual men and those sheltering deserters and/or pacifists; while 'The Ghost Road' sees Billy Prior, a soldier who was in the war hospital in 'Regeneration' and involved heavily in 'The Eye in the Door', return to the war front. This final book is split between Prior's accounts of the war, Dr Rivers's work in a war hospital and Rivers's flashbacks/recollections of his early anthropological studies among a tribal culture.
The main themes binding the books are the sense of futility and hopelessness that drove soldiers to insanity; the emasculating effects of being stuck in a trench (or any place) where you are ordered to do things and have your fate taken out of your own hands.Read more ›
On the surface, we are presented with a seemingly straightforward negative account of the war, most prolifically in its impact on the two central characters, Prior and Rivers, who serve as the focus for the narrative throughout the book (the latter stages even being told directly from Prior's diary entries). However, upon a deeper reading, endless social judgements emerge, directed against every aspect of our society, along with predictable passes at the class system, which allowed the upper classes, and in particular, aristocratic army generals to distance themseves from the suffering endured by the men. Barker cleverly utilises a complex narrative which in itself would satisfy a reader, and saturates it with ambiguous, apparently descriptive yet deeply symbolic references, to the deepest political and philosophical issues.
Despite these being perhaps cliched themes, especially so considering the context, they are presented in such a way that makes them have a powerful impact on the reader, the sustained flatly harrowing tone, one of almost casual sadism, being as intriguing as it is grotesque. The opening line: 'In deck chairs all along the front the bald pink knees of Bradford businessmen nuzzled the sun' demonstrates this, the symbolism inherent here indicative of the way Barker starts as she means to go on.Read more ›
This most moving and eloquent of books is a fitting ending for this monumental trilogy. It is also a humbling elegy for all those forgotten victims of the war and their families, who suffered misery as deadly as any bullet could inflict. Essential reading.
It shows us how different cultures view death. Is it always terrible or sometimes are there worse things that can happen. Are all who die peaceful?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was disappointed with this book because I normally like tales of the Great War. I did not like the style of writing which included a lot of swear words and "dirty"... Read morePublished 2 months ago by pamela jones
I hate books, they only teach you to follow and not lead. We need leaders not followers. I'll make sure my children never reads these stupid things called books. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Arin
Arrived in time for my A300 OU course - good price too compared to what OU quotedPublished 3 months ago by Janey
I haven't got on to the third bit of the trilogy yet, but I'm looking forward to that over the Christmas breakPublished 7 months ago by K. Partridge
The best book about WW1 I have read. An absolute must for anyone delving into this fascinating, traumatic time.Published 11 months ago by Annie H
I read the whole trilogy in three weeks! This is the first book that I have ever gone quickly to the last pages to find out the final fate of one of the characters!! Read morePublished 14 months ago by Victoria Walsh